Tuesday, August 25, 2015


In the (almost) eleven years since Nelly's Garden began I have found, time and time again, that the only way to overcome blog-block is to simply blog, write, put words together, whatever it takes.

What causes blog-block? For me it is,



Lack of confidence.


I'm distracted by family, by reading, by my discovery of an American sit-com called Modern Family, and by gardening. These activities keep me busy and happy.

I'm worried about a pain in the left side of my skull that comes and goes. It is likely coming from a crick in my neck, or wrongly aligned pillows. It is probably not a brain tumour.

Lack of confidence? The more I read the more I realise how limited are my own writing skills. This morning, as I drove to Antrim I listened to part of a dramatisation of A Severed Head by Iris Murdoch. I started reading Murdoch when I was very young and I remember so little about it. Most of it must have gone over my head. I wonder what drew me to Murdoch? To find out I must return, starting with the first, The Nice and the Good which I read (with great enjoyment) when I was sixteen. And what am I reading now? The last novel in the Game of Thrones series. It's great fun, I'm a big fan, enough of a fan to wish that George R.R. Martin would get on with it.

Happiness. I really do believe that I am happier now than I have ever been in my entire life. And who wants to read a Happy Person blog? For instance, today was a wonderful day. Something happened that turned out far, far better than I could ever have hoped. All I did was drive my godson and his mum to a clearing day at our local college and, despite disappointing GCSE results, he got accepted on to a course that he really wanted to do. So very, very happy that I could help in the smallest way.

To finish, this August has been a great month. Not much of a summer in Northern Ireland but I had those two weeks in sunny Norfolk with my new grandson and his wonderful parents and lovely family days here at home,  and I had today and, despite a middling summer, the garlic, the broad beans, the raspberries and the purple turnips did amazingly well in Nelly's Garden. I'm looking forward to the blackberries.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Plundering the Archives

I'm finding this oul blogging lark hard going these days. In days gone past I'd be tootling about my daily business and thinking about all kinds of things to write about - these days, not so much. That's why it's great having an archive. When I can't think of a single thing to write about I can always plunder the archive. It seems that 10 years ago we were having this house renovated and were yet to move in. I also noted that 10 years ago I was a good deal more likely to write posts that might hurt people's feelings. Perhaps I should get back to that style of blogging.

The only thing this picture has to do with today's post is that it is from the 2005 archive. Poor Harry de Cat. We miss him still.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Accidental Joiner

I was hoping that the most eventful happening of the day would have been my boss causing me to suffer bloggus interruptus. It was during my lunch hour but there was no way he could be sure as he wasn't there when the hour started. And I was in the middle of a really good reply to CyberScribe's spooky comment about Cully pubs. How does he know? Where is Greyabbey anyway? Oh Bert's just told me it's in County Down. So the muse deserted me and that's why my eventual reply was so lame Cybe ol' boy.

So that's my quota of italicised words used up for this post and from now on I will have to manage without them.

On returning home I decided to go and inspect the work going on in the new house. I was especially interested in seeing how the kitchen tiles looked and also wanted to see the flight of stairs leading to the attic floor. Seamus the joiner started on them yesterday and they were pretty much finished. There is a little health & safety type issue at the very top which I wanted to take a look at so I asked Seamus if they were safe to step upon. He gave the go ahead and I had my foot on the bottom step when James the electrician nabbed me with a query about the lights I headed downstairs to the room where Matthew was tiling. Matthew says,

"Where's Bert?"
"Down the road. What's up?"
"We've a bit of a problem here."
"Oh! What's wrong?"
"Bert's tin whistle has fallen into this bucket of tile cement."

We were just coming to terms with this disaster when the joiner's apprentice came in. He says,

"Where's Bert?"
"Down the road. What's up?"
"Seamus has cut himself with the electric saw."

And so he had. Apparently it had stuck and he was trying to dislodge it when it had jumped back and gouged a lump out of his knee. Both Matthew and James were urging me to take him to the local GP surgery. Feck's sake! These lads must think Dr Finlay practises in Cully. I said no for the first thing the local GP would say is, "you'll need to go to casualty with that" so that's what we did. Seamus was very stoical about the whole episode and says he'll be back at work tomorrow. They breed real men in Dunloy.

By the way that policeman is still reading my blog. He phoned me yesterday in his professional capacity and before he rang off he said, "Are you still off the drink?"


Meanwhile in the present world Nellybert took a walk up the back lane at dusk and spotted Foxy's big red arse disappearing into the wood. We had interrupted his supper of fat pigeon. He took it with him, leaving the wings and a shiny, black poo behind him. Judy did not roll in it for which we were truly grateful.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

When Bertie Met Foxy

While I was away Bert had an interesting encounter with Foxy. On that day the big field had just been cut for silage so he gathered up the .22 and headed out the back lane to see if Foxy was out catching frogs. And sure enough, there he was, sauntering through the freshly cut field.

Bert crouched down behind the hedge and raised the gun. He had the vicious chicken killer in his sights. Judy and Jess saw Foxy too, sat on their haunches and stared at him through the five-bar gate. Foxy sat down and gazed coolly back. And all Bert had to do was squeeze the trigger. He waited, and waited. The dogs watched the fox and the fox watched the dogs. He was the same dark red fox that had been in the hen run, the same big fellow that Bert and the dogs had spotted a few times previously.

We don't know why Judy and Jess don't go after him. Perhaps he mesmerises them. Maybe he is even that same fox that Fred encountered on the back lane five years ago. 

Then Bert stood up and Foxy got up too, looked at the man with the gun then turned on his heel and trotted back to the woods.

Bert is not entirely sure why he didn't shoot Foxy. A good few of our friends reckoned he should have squeezed the trigger and about as many again said he was right to let him go. He felt he made the right call. I think so too.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Too Tired To Blog

I've been busy, busy since I returned from Norfolk. Too tired to even think about blogging. All being well, come tomorrow I shall recount the tale of When Bertie Met Foxy.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Update From North Norfolk

It has been a week now and every day brings new experiences for Baby James. He received his first letter today addressed to Mr James Surname. Imagine! A Mr at under three weeks. In my day It would have been Master James.

I have been having lots of new experiences too, mostly to do with TV shows. I have watched, and for the first time, The Great British Bake Off, One Born Every Minute and Location, Location, Location and, I have to say, I enjoyed them all. That Phil guy in Location is quite attractive.

And I've got back into daily walks. This is something I must keep up when I get back to Ireland because it makes me feel so good. Of course, it helps that everything here is new to me. The wildflowers are different, there are far more species of butterfly to see. The roads are quiet and there are lots of off-road tracks and paths. Syderstone Common is a delight.

So what of Baby James? He'll be three weeks old tomorrow. Sometimes he is easy, sometimes not. He is growing before our eyes and his Mummy is very patient and loving. He seems to like her too. It will be hard saying goodbye to him but there is always Christmas. And thankfully there is social media. I'll get to see him grow up, if sometimes it will be at a distance. I will always be grateful for this time.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Far From The Madding Crowd

I am currently in the wilds of North Norfolk and Internet speeds are not quite what they are in Cullybackey. It took at least  two minutes for this page to open!

But, on the plus side, I am spending a lot of time with my new grandchild James. He is a very lovely child and enjoys sleeping on his granny. Who needs the Internet?

I love the peace of this place. I took a walk this evening and saw just two cars. Sometimes, walking on our ow B road, it is like walking beside a dual carriageway. This part of Norfolk is so peaceful.